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  B-25D-25 "Montana Maid" Serial Number 42-87296  
5th AF
71st TRG
17th TRS

Pilot  1st Lt. Burwell M. Vowell, O-755468 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Robert J. Gaines (MIA / KIA, BR)
Navigator  1st Lt. Richard L. Hershey (MIA / KIA, BR)
Armoror-Gunner  SSgt William E. Davies, Jr. (MIA / KIA, BR)
Radio  SSgt James C. Smith (MIA / KIA, BR)
Engineer  SSgt Robert L. Allman (MIA / KIA, BR)
Passenger  1st Lt. Van Kennon (MIA / KIA, BR) Cameron, TX
Crashed  December 26, 1944 at 11:30pm
MACR  12604

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA). Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-25 Mitchell serial number 42-87296. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (17th TRS). Nicknamed "Montana Maid". When lost, engines R2600-13 serial numbers 41-29773 and 43-22127.

Mission History
On December 26, 1944 took off from San Jose Airfield. Experienced heavy rains and ran out of fuel attempting to reach Tacloban Airfield on Leyte.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 26, 1944. After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was transported to the United States for permanent burial. On September 30, 1949 buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in a group burial at section E, sites 160-161. Kennon also has a memorial marker at Walkers Creek Cemetery in Cameron, TX.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-25 Mitchell 42-87296
"87296 (71st BG) lost Dec 26, 1944, SW Pacific."
FindAGrave - Burwell M Vowell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert J Gaines (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Richard L Hershey (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William E Davies, Jr
FindAGrave - James C Smith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert L Allman (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Van Kennon (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Van Kennon (photo, memorial marker photo)

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Last Updated
January 11, 2023


Tech Info

7 Missing
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